Hornbill Unleashed

March 14, 2013

When the war drums stop…

Amir Ali

The Sulu invasion of Lahad Datu has severely tested Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s ‘wasatiyah’ or moderation call.

Malaysia has been credited with successfully mediating and resolving some conflicts in the region, like the peace deals signed between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Philippines, and the recently concluded pact between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Manila.

Malaysia has also participated in many other UN peacekeeping initiatives, helping to save lives in many countries. (more…)

March 13, 2013

Of truth claims and sultans

KJ John

I do not usually take a strong stand on any overtly partisan issue, unless I am driven by a specific conviction on truth matters related to the subject. Therefore, when some partisan groups have asked me to speak at fund-raising dinners which I attended, I usually refuse. But, recently I made one exception. Now, I am reflecting on why I did that.

First, a story that opened up my mind on the Sulu sultan and his claims about Sabah, on behalf of his ancestors. But, as I always say in class, we must start with definitions, so our listeners are also on the same page.

Of sultans and sultanates (more…)

March 12, 2013

The last sultan

Antonio Montalvan II @ Philippine Daily Inquirer

How copious is our understanding of the Sultanate of Sulu? If Malacañang’s statement is true, that it has only begun consulting historical documents, then that understanding is miserably wanting. Manila has always had an ambivalent appreciation of the sultanate and its rightful place as an institution in Philippine polity.

Islamic scholarship contends that the first-ever sultan was the Prophet Muhammad. Because of the high religious regard for him as messenger of God, his earthly conduct as spiritual leader became an example and tradition. Sultanates thus became a prescription for sustaining that tradition. All sultanate countries hold that belief. (more…)

March 11, 2013

Disguising imminent defeat as unilateral ceasefire

William M. Esposo  @ The Philippine Star

You have to hand it to the Sultanate of Sulu for its masterful utilization of propaganda methods. Their unilateral declaration of a ceasefire, timed after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called for a cessation of hostilities in Sabah, was a face-saving device to avert the humiliation of defeat by the vastly superior Malaysian armed forces.

The casualties were rising in the Sultanate’s side and if a reliable source is to be believed — they’re running low on supplies in Sabah. Last Monday, March 4, my informer in the Sultan Jamalul Kiram camp told me that by Friday, March 7, the so-called Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu could run out of bullets. The so-called unilateral ceasefire called last Thursday, March 7, by the Kirams coincides with this development. (more…)

12 reasons why Philippines can’t claim Sabah

Christopher Leong, Malaysian Bar

The Malaysian Bar is extremely concerned by reports of the armed intrusion by foreign elements and ongoing conflict in the areas of Lahad Datu and Semporna, in Sabah.

We are deeply saddened by the deaths of eight Malaysian police personnel, and extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones.

We salute our fallen heroes who have paid the highest price in defence of our nation and territory. Our thoughts and prayers also go to members of our security forces who are now in the frontline of this conflict. (more…)

March 7, 2013

Safety and security of the people is now of the utmost importance

Hussaini Abdul Karim

In my mind, the Kampong Tanduo, Lahad Datu Sabah incident was just a ‘montage’ and the bigger picture is more about the fate of Sabah and its people.

The question that has been lingering on my mind since I first read the report about the intruders is: “Will it remain status quo or will there be a change?”

The Malaysian Armed Forces has finally demonstrated their prowess and using fighter jets, tanks and artillery they acted to end the standoff after almost two weeks. All the dead from both sides have all been respectfully buried and hopefully, the welfare of their immediate family members that they left behind are taken care of. Those injured are being treated and I hope all parties concerned have learned a valuable lesson from the tragedy. All efforts must now be taken to prevent a repeat of such a tragedy. (more…)

March 6, 2013

More Sulu gunmen killed in another shooting, says IGP


More Sulu militants have died in a gunfight with security forces here this afternoon, Tan Sri Ismail Omar said today, without specifying the number.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) (picture) also said that the security forces were expanding their search operations from Kampung Tanduo to Kampung Tanjung Batu.

“At 4.15pm, there were shoot-outs at three locations in the (Tanjung Batu) village,” Ismail told reporters here today.

“We believe there were some enemies who fell, but we can’t verify the number at this time,” he added. (more…)

13 Sulu gunmen confirmed killed, says Mindef


Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with a picture showing the bodies of Filipino militants found after the airstrikes. – Photo by Saw Siow Feng

Thirteen bodies of Filipino militants have been found after the authorities launched air strikes at the 200-strong Sulu group hiding in a village here yesterday, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

The defence minister showed the media two pictures of several corpses dressed in dark blue, lying facedown in a heap of dirt, saying that copies of the pictures would be distributed to the press later. (more…)

Rumour mill grinding down troop morale, experts say


Policemen man their base near Lahad Datu, February 17, 2013.

The spread of false reports and rumours through the new media on the fight against Sulu intruders in Sabah could cause adverse effects such as creating a negative perception that could disrupt operations.

In fact, they could result in reverse psychological effect that could aggravate the situation and dampen the morale of the security forces, said experts.

Independent criminologist Datuk Akhbar Satar, when contacted, said the dissemination of false information on social media sites could affect the country’s image and the people should let the authorities do their job. (more…)

‘Princess’ claims Kiram group alive, would free 4 Malaysian hostages


Self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III (seated, right) and his followers display placards in front of Blue Mosque in Maharlika village, near Manila, March 1, 2013.

Rebel leader Agbimuddin Kiram and his band of militants have survived Malaysia’s aerial assault and “mop-up” operations, Sulu “princess” Jacel Kiram claimed this morning on national television in the Philippines.

The daughter of the elderly Jamalul Kiram, one of the nine claimants to the Sulu Sultanate, said her uncle was willing to release the four Malaysian hostages they claim to be holding captive, but wanted to do so in front of the international media and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Committee to prove they were unharmed (more…)

March 5, 2013

Army attacks Filipino intruders, explosions heard


The army launched an attack on the Filipino intruders at Kampung Tanduo, Felda Sahabat in Lahad Datu at 7am today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in a statement today

The Star Online reported that fresh fighting began between the Sulu gunmen and security forces early this morning.

Gunshots were heard and fighter jets were seen circling around the Felda Sahabat plantation. Four explosions were also heard in Kampung Tanduo, the daily reported. (more…)

Blockade around Tanjung Labian as more gunmen reported landing


Policemen man a road block on a street leading to Kampung Tanduo, in Felda Sahabat outside Lahad Datu February 18, 2013. — Reuters pic

Security forces have blocked off access into a seaside village in Tanjung Batu, near Lahad Datu, Sabah as unconfirmed sightings of gunmen in military fatigues emerged, several media reported this afternoon.

The Borneo Insider news portal reported unverified news of a group of 50 heavily-armed men landing near Felda Sahabat on Sabah’s east coast, and taking several hostages. (more…)

Manila now says up to Malaysia to handle Sulu militants


The Philippine government said today the fate of the self-proclaimed royal Sulu army in Sabah now lies in the hands of Malaysia’s security forces, appearing to suggest that a peaceful end to the prolonged standoff is no longer possible.

In an interview with the Philippines’ ABS-CBN News Channel this morning, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda pointed out that the over 200 gunmen claiming to be followers of the Sulu Sultanate have continued to hold their ground in Sabah, refusing to lay down arms even after violent skirmishes since Friday left 28 dead.

Jamalul claims Sabah belongs to the Sulu Sultanate. — Reuters pic (more…)

Why are our troops still on the defensive?

Hussaini Abdul Karim

Based on the reports and images as shown in our mainstream newspapers on the standoff between our troops and the armed Sulu group at Kampong Tanduo, many things seem to be wrong.

Firstly, while there are some members of the troops who were seen to be donning bullet-proof vests, none were wearing helmets. Some were seen wearing long-sleeved tee-shirts and standard ‘soft’ headgear, bandanas and some were not even wearing any headgear at all, especially the members of the VAT 69. Many were also seen not wearing bullet-proof vests.  This is most surprising and wrong.

We are not cowboys on horses fighting against Red Indians armed with arrows, spears and axes! (more…)

March 4, 2013

Did the police walk into a trap in Semporna?

Michael Kaung and Azman Habu

Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar says his men may have been lured in by decoys and fired upon as they entered the water village.

Police searching for a group of gunmen in Kampung Sri Jaya in the Simunul area in Semporna may have walked into a trap that was set for them.

According to sources, the gunmen appeared ready for the police raid and opened fire as the police were on the narrow single-plank walkways linking the various houses on stilts.

Six policemen, including an officer, and six unidentified gunmen were killed during the firefight that occurred around 7pm yesterday. (more…)

Filipinos claim to hold four M’sian hostages


According to Filipino media reports, Sulu Sultanate spokesperson Abraham Idjirani said that captured a Malaysian government official, two military officials and one police personnel.The Sulu Sultanate claim that Filipinos living in Sabah have captured four Malaysians in Semporna as hostages, but the police are unable to verify this claim.

According to Abraham, the capture was conducted by Filipinos living in Sabah in response to an alleged slaying of an imam and his four sons in Semporna.

Abraham stressed that the Sulu Sultanate was not involved in the capture but have advised those responsible to care for their captives and feed them. (more…)

Trouble brewing in Filipino-’powered’ Semporna?

Azman Habu

Unconfirmed reports of gunshots, explosions and warnings for people to avoid areas with large concentrations of Filipinos in Semporna, are making its rounds in Sabah’s east coast.

Police in Semporna, where thousands of Filipinos have made their home,  and in other districts along the east coast of Sabah are said to be on high alert following unconfirmed reports of an explosion in Semporna.

Local residents in the scenic seaside town are reporting a large police operation around Kg Sri Jaya after two explosions were heard. (more…)

Understanding the Sabah dispute

Artemio V Panganiban

To understand (1) the claim of the Sultan of Sulu over Sabah, (2) the standoff in Lahad Datu town in Sabah, (3) the stand-down admonition of President Aquino directing the followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III led by his brother Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram to withdraw and return peacefully to the Philippines, and (4) the enforcement actions of the Malaysian authorities that sadly resulted in death and injury, I think it is best to begin by discussing the concepts of sovereignty and ownership.

Sovereignty is the perpetual and absolute power of a state (not of an individual) to command obedience within its territory. This power is manifested through the state’s constitution and laws, and is enforced by governmental agencies and officials. When needed, the state’s military and police forces can be called to back this enforcement. (more…)

March 3, 2013

PM orders probe into alleged opposition involvement in Sulu intrusion


Najib (picture) said he was puzzled as to why the armed men came to Sabah at a time when the country was about to hold a general election when the Sulu Sultanate had laid claim to Sabah a long time ago.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has ordered the intelligence authorities to investigate a claim that an opposition leader had a hand in the armed intrusion in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

He said the allegation was a serious matter but there must be strong evidence to identify the mastermind. (more…)

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